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Cleveland Whiskey says tariffs are hurting its international business

Posted at 5:14 PM, May 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-07 17:14:58-04

CLEVELAND — A local company says people overseas aren’t able to toss back Cleveland-distilled spirits anymore due to tariffs imposed by the Trump administration, and the company is going to have to raise its prices.

At a town hall event Monday, Cleveland Whiskey shared how tariffs are hurting its business. The company said that before the tariffs took effect, it sold spirits to five countries overseas.

Now, distributors aren’t interested in buying their products.

"We didn't sell a single bottle of our spirits in Europe last year,” said Cleveland Whiskey CEO Tom Lix. “It should have been 20% of our business, but everybody stopped buying because the prices are so much higher."

The group “Tariffs Hurt the Heartland” said it’s not just distillers feeling the heat. It claims that since the new tariffs took effect in January, Ohio businesses, farmers and manufacturers have paid an extra $600 million in import tariffs.

RELATED: Cleveland Whiskey founder says Trump's tariff threats disrupted export of whiskey to Europe